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Reflecting on the evolution of the computer mouse

Reflecting on the evolution of the computer mouse

Posted on: Thursday 4th July 2013


On hearing the news of the recent passing of Douglas Englebart, the inventor of the computer mouse, we at team Glidden took a look back at the evolution of mouse form and function. 

The concept of the computer mouse was first patented in 1970 by Douglas Englebart. It quite simply involved two rolling wheels housed in a wooden box, and a single clickable button. Englebart nicknamed his invention the 'mouse' because of the 'tail-like' wire that trailed out of the back of the device.

Doug Englebart mouse

Since then, that simple concept has been adopted by computer companies and manufacturers across the world, providing us with an array of products in this field. Computer mice have developed from simply 'tracking' and 'clicking', to perform a whole suite of gestures.

Apple computer mouse evolution

Today there are products such as Apple's magic mouse which as well as 'tracking' can perform an additional 9 functions! Click, Two-button click, 360°-scroll, screen zoom, screen pan, Two-finger swipe, One-finger swipe, Two-finger double tap, One-finger double tap.

Apple magic mouse

Unfortunately for Englebart, he was employed by non-profit research institute SRI International at the time, and as such, didn't receive any additional payment or royalties for his work.

Thanks Douglas, life wouldn't be quite the same without your quirky yet effective invention!


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